Edgar Davids has insisted Juventus' current squad, led by record signing Cristiano Ronaldo, cannot be labelled the club's best ever until they at least reach the Champions League final.

The Italian giants finished top of Serie A last season for the eighth year running, ending up a comfortable 11 points clear of nearest rivals Napoli.

However, despite last year's addition of superstar forward Ronaldo to an already star-studded group, Juventus exited both the Champions League and Coppa Italia in the last eight.

And Davids claimed his former side must improve on last season's showing in Europe in particular if they are to go down in club history.

Asked if Ronaldo's Juventus is the greatest crop of players seen at the Bianconeri through the years, Davids replied: "Did he reach the Champions league final? No. But I hope they can make it next year.

"It is becoming an obsession for Juventus. When you want to be the best it has to be an obsession."

Juventus have added free agents Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon, as well as bringing in Merih Demiral and Luca Pellegrini during the close season.

Ajax's in-demand skipper Matthijs de Ligt has been tipped to make the switch to the Allianz Stadium too, but Davids has his reservations.

"He has only played one season at the highest level," Davids said at the Operazione Nostalgia 2019 event. 

"I don't think we have to exaggerate his evaluation."

Antonio Conte knows there is a huge gap between Inter and Juventus but reminded his former club he has overcome similar odds before.

Conte was speaking at his first media conference as Inter head coach, as the ex-Italy boss prepares to return to football next season having taken a sabbatical following his exit from Chelsea last year.

Inter secured a return to the Champions League under Luciano Spalletti in 2018-19 – a feat for which Conte thanked his predecessor – but were 21 points shy of title-winning Juve.

It was the Bianconeri's eighth consecutive top-flight crown, a run that started under Conte in 2011-12 after a seventh-place finish the season before.

The 49-year-old pointed out he completed an even more impressive ascent with Chelsea to claim Premier League glory in his maiden season in England.

"It's no secret that there's an enormous gap right now between Inter and Juventus, while Napoli have also shown themselves to be consistent," said Conte.

"I never set limits – I don't want to create excuses. We know that we'll have to put in the hard work and also work better than the others in order to bridge the gap that has formed in recent years.

"When I arrived at Juventus, the club had finished seventh for two years running, while Chelsea had just finished the season in 10th place.

"However, it's not right to make comparisons with the past because every experience is different.

"The important thing is not to place limits on ourselves in any competition. Even if we only have one per cent of winning then we must work with this percentage."

Conte is looking forward to returning to Juventus, despite the battering his status as a one-time playing and coaching hero in Turin is likely to have endured in light of his latest appointment.

"It'll be a very important game when we face Juve, as we are taking on the side that has won the Scudetto eight years in a row," he said. "But there will be another 36 games, not just the two with Juventus. So if we are to be ambitious, we must look beyond those 90 minutes.

"It'll be emotional to step into the Juventus Stadium. You know my history very well, so there will certainly be emotions. But once that whistle blows, Juventus become adversaries."

In an echo of his first briefing in charge of Chelsea, Conte repeatedly preached the mantra of hard work to his players.

He is also set to operate with the three-man defence that has yielded success throughout a decorated coaching career.

"Often, I've started with a certain idea and then changed it once I've got to know the players better," added Conte. "We want to play attacking football with high intensity, football that excites our fans.

"Looking at the current Inter squad, what stands out is the strength of their defence, so logically a three-man defence would be a good way to start. We'll see how it goes."

Theo Hernandez hopes to bring an end to AC Milan's 12-year wait for European glory by adding a second Champions League winners' medal to his collection following his move to San Siro.

After Real Madrid signed defenders Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy, 21-year-old left-back Theo opted to make a €20million switch to Milan, bringing an end to his two-year spell with Los Blancos.

Theo cost Zinedine Zidane's team €30m when he arrived from cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid in July 2017, but he made just 13 LaLiga appearances for the Santiago Bernabeu club.

He also played three times for Real Madrid in the Champions League, helping the club to win the competition in 2017-18, and he told Milan's official website he hopes for more success in Europe with the Rossoneri.

"I'm really excited and happy to be joining AC Milan," said Theo. "I hope I can make history with this club.

"I'll give my very best for this club. AC Milan is a great club – that is why I have come here, to reach the very top and win the Champions League with the Rossoneri.

"I would like to tell you [the fans] that I'm here to make history and do my very best for you all.

"I'm delighted to be here. Forza Milan!"

Manchester United have included Paul Pogba in their squad to tour Australia and Asia amid significant doubt about the midfielder's future at the club.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have 28 players to choose from as he oversees his first pre-season trip, including France international Pogba and in-demand striker Romelu Lukaku.

Confirmation of their involvement comes just two days after Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, claimed the World Cup winner's desire to leave Old Trafford is "clear".

Manchester United's pursuit of a new centre-back sounds like it is becoming quite expensive.

Not only have Leicester City reportedly quoted them £90million plus for Harry Maguire, the Red Devils are also being expected to make the England man their third-highest-paid player.

Little wonder Manchester City have apparently stepped away from the race to sign him.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED TO OFFER MAGUIRE HUGE WAGE

The Daily Star claim Manchester United are to offer Harry Maguire a wage of £250,000 a week to tempt him to Old Trafford.

That is said to be three times as much as he earns at Leicester City and would make him the third-highest earner at the Red Devils, behind Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.

Perhaps he is worth the money, though. According to the Manchester Evening News, Alex Ferguson has given the signing of Maguire his seal of approval.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United do not know if Paul Pogba will be on the plane to Australia for the start of their pre-season training camp, according to the Mirror. Pogba is determined to leave Old Trafford amid links to Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo wants to join Juventus despite interest from Champions League runners-up Tottenham. Spurs have reportedly offered €23million plus defender Toby Alderweireld, while Juve are prepared to offload Gonzalo Higuain and cash for the 20-year-old.

- The Star reports Arsenal want Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser if they are not able to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. The Gunners are also favourites to sign Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney ahead of Napoli, according to CalcioNapoli24.

- According to Sport Mediaset, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's agent is in London to hold talks with Manchester United about the Lazio midfielder. Milinkovic-Savic emerged as a target for United at the start of 2018-19 and with the Red Devils needing to reinforce their midfield amid doubts over Paul Pogba, the Serbia international could be available for €80million.

Barcelona target Antoine Griezmann has informed Atletico Madrid that he will not report for the start of pre-season training, Marca says. Griezmann has already made clear his desire to leave Atletico after five years, with LaLiga champions Barca the favourites to sign the France star.

- Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is keen to make a 'statement signing' and has identified Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, claims the Daily Mail.

- The Sun says Atletico Madrid could be forced to sell Saul Niguez amid speculation linking the Spain international midfielder to Manchester United. According to reports, Quality Sports Investments own 40 per cent of Saul's transfer rights and would be owned that percentage if the player – who has a €150million release clause – leaves Madrid.

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has emerged as a target for Premier League champions Manchester City, who are refusing to meet Leicester City's valuation of Harry Maguire.

Cristiano Ronaldo will do everything in his power to ensure next season is one to remember for Juventus after a mixed first campaign in Turin following his move from Real Madrid.

The Portuguese forward won the Serie A title in 2018-19 and was named the division's Most Valuable Player after scoring 21 times and setting up a further eight goals for his team-mates.

But he could not inspire his side to glory in the Champions League as Juve exited the competition at the hands of Ajax in the quarter-finals – although his hat-trick knocked out Atletico Madrid a round earlier - while Juve also crashed out of the Coppa Italia to Atalanta at the same stage.

Ronaldo, enjoying an extended break at home in Madeira before heading back to Juventus for pre-season training, has now set his sights on adding more silverware to his collection following Portugal's collection of the inaugural Nations League crown.

"I am proud to be here [in Madeira], to see my family. I will stop here for the next two days," he told O Jogo.

"I am always ready for a great season. The goal is to always give the maximum to try to win trophies."

Juventus, now coached by ex-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, take on Tottenham in their first pre-season friendly on July 21.

Theo Hernandez has completed a transfer from Real Madrid to AC Milan.

Milan have paid a reported €20million for the 21-year-old, who has signed what is believed to be a five-year contract at San Siro.

Theo joined Los Blancos on a six-year deal from city rivals Atletico Madrid in 2017 but made just 23 appearances in his maiden season at Madrid, before joining Real Sociedad on loan for 2018-19.

With Madrid having signed left-back Ferland Mendy from Lyon, Theo – whose brother Lucas left Atleti to join Bayern Munich on July 1 – has been deemed surplus to requirements.

Following Theo to Milan could be Empoli midfielder Rade Krunic, while Arsenal's Lucas Torreira was reportedly the subject of a loan offer from the Rossoneri.

Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan are not part of Inter's project for next season, says the club's chief executive Giuseppe Marotta.

Icardi was stripped of the club's captaincy last season and subsequently left out by then head coach Luciano Spalletti, although he returned to action before the end of the season.

Spalletti has been replaced by Antonio Conte and Icardi, who has been linked with clubs including Serie A champions Juventus, has indicated he wants to stay.

Nainggolan, meanwhile, struggled to make an impact in an injury-affected first season with the Nerazzurri after he joined from Serie A rivals Roma.

And Marotta has confirmed both Icardi and Nainggolan will be allowed to leave the club.

"They are not part of our plans," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We have already talked to them, with all due respect to them.

"It's one thing to say that Icardi is on the market, it's one thing to respect the contractual aspects, a collective agreement that still requires the player to take part in the training.

"We absolutely do not want to fail in our duties. Then there are also rights such as that of the coach to choose training on the pitch."

Inter have been linked with moves for strikers Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko as they look to rebuild their squad under new coach Conte.

"A great Inter is taking shape," Marotta told Gazzetta dello Sport in a separate interview.

"People always say the squad is a reflection of the club, and there is now a solid ownership behind Inter with long-term vision. The team will follow that pattern.

"Along with all that, Antonio Conte is Inter's real top player."

Romelu Lukaku has been strongly linked with Inter, but it appears Juventus are also interested in the Manchester United striker.

Lukaku, 26, looks set to leave Old Trafford this close season, having struggled to have the same impact at United as he did at Everton.

Inter seemed set to be the Belgium international's most likely destination, but Juve are interested, or likely at least driving up the price for their rivals.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS MAKE LUKAKU APPROACH

According to Sky Sport Italia, Juventus have approached Manchester United about Lukaku.

Such a move would be a blow to Inter, who looked favourites to sign Lukaku, with an exit seemingly looming for Mauro Icardi.

Gianluca Di Marzio reports there is uncertainty over how serious Juventus are about a move for Lukaku.

 

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are also linked with Icardi, who is a reported target for Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport report Napoli are ready to offer €60million for the forward.

- Atletico Madrid are ready to complete a deal for Alvaro Morata. The forward joined the LaLiga club in January on an 18-month loan deal from Chelsea, but Atletico are reported to have a purchase option. Sport say they are ready to pay €55m (£49.3m) for Morata, potentially as soon as this close season.

- Arsenal need to strengthen but it seems any movement from the Emirates Stadium is happening slowly. AS report the Premier League club are in negotiations with Real Madrid over Lucas Vazquez, prepared to pay £31.4m (€35m) for the attacker. Arsenal may finally find an exit for Mesut Ozil, with TRT Spor reporting Turkish giants Fenerbahce could take the playmaker on loan.

- Staying in London, Tottenham could be set to sign Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos on loan. AS report Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Ceballos about a move, and Sport say any deal would be a one-year loan agreement as the 22-year-old is eager to prove himself at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Spurs are also reportedly interested in Real Madrid's Mariano. Tottenham have enquired about Mariano, according to AS, while Roma are also interested in the 25-year-old forward.

- Forget Manchester United and Tottenham, Youri Tielemans has chosen Leicester City. Having spent the second half of last season on loan at Leicester from Monaco, Tielemans is close to finalising a permanent move to the King Power Stadium, according to The Sun.

Juventus completed the signing of Turkey defender Merih Demiral for €18million from Sassuolo on Friday.

Demiral, 21, joined Sassuolo from Alanyaspor in January – initially on loan with an obligation to buy – before making 14 Serie A appearances.

The centre-back, a four-time Turkey international, has now joined the Serie A champions, signing a five-year deal.

"Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with U.S. Sassuolo Calcio S.r.l. for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Merih Demiral has been finalised for a consideration of €18million payable in four financial years," a Juve statement read.

"Juventus and the player have signed a five-year contract of employment until 30 June 2024."

Demiral also scored two Serie A goals in his 14 matches as Sassuolo finished 11th in the table.

His signing continues Juve's strengthening, with Aaron Ramsey, Luca Pellegrini, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon having signed for Maurizio Sarri's side ahead of 2019-20.

Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United and is "in the process" of securing a transfer, according to his agent Mino Raiola.

Pogba hinted at being unsettled at Old Trafford last month, telling reporters in Japan he was interested in a new challenge three years after returning to United from Juventus.

A move back to Juve has been mooted for the World Cup winner, while Real Madrid and Barcelona are also rumoured to be interested in the playmaker.

Raiola, who negotiated Pogba's then world-record move to United in 2016, did not offer any indication as to Pogba's preferred destination, but made his client's intentions clear.

"Everyone within the club, from the manager to the owner, knows Paul's wishes," Raiola told The Times.

"Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are."

Pogba is apparently yet to report for pre-season training with United, although the midfielder has reportedly been given permission by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to join the group late.

United play their first friendly ahead of the 2019-20 season against A-League side Perth Glory in Australia on July 13, but it is unclear whether Pogba will join his team-mates on tour.

"I cannot tell you anything," Raiola added. "I live day by day."

The Italian Football Association (FIGC) imposed a three-month ban on Raiola in April, with no specific reasoning provided.

FIFA extended the sanction to a worldwide ban, but this was lifted last month, paving the way for Raiola to negotiate deals for Pogba and his other clients, who include Ajax's in-demand captain Matthijs de Ligt.

Manchester United are desperate to sign Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.

Maguire, 26, has reportedly told Leicester he wants to leave, with both Manchester clubs linked with a move for the centre-back.

But it seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to bring the England international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED STARS GIVE MAGUIRE THUMBS-UP

Maguire is Manchester United's number one defensive target, according to the Mirror.

The report says Solskjaer received positive feedback from the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young, the United trio having played with Maguire for England.

The Mirror also say United assistant manager Mike Phelan is desperate for the club to sign Maguire, who he worked with briefly as Hull City manager in 2016-17.

It was reported earlier this week that United had made a £70million bid for Maguire.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United have offered goalkeeper David de Gea – who has been linked with a move away – a final £350,000-per-week contract, according to The Sun.

- Romelu Lukaku is set to join United's pre-season tour despite reportedly being set for a move away. The Sun say Inter are yet to meet United's £75m price tag for the striker.

- After 12-and-a-half years at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marcelo is set to leave Real Madrid. The left-back, who faced plenty of criticism during 2018-19, will leave the LaLiga giants in the coming weeks, according to Sport.

- It looks set to be a busy few days for West Ham. The Premier League club have agreed to sell Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG for £23m, according to the Daily Mail. The Mirror say the Hammers are looking at West Brom striker Salomon Rondon, while Football London report the club are trying to land Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez, who was set to join Valencia.

- There could be another talented forward heading to China, with Sky Sport Italia reporting Stephan El Shaarawy has agreed to move to Shanghai Shenhua. Roma reportedly want €20m for the forward.

- AC Milan have completed a €16m move for Empoli midfielder Ismael Bennacer, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, who also reports the club have enquired about Benfica's Gedson Fernandes. Still at San Siro, Sky Sports News report Liverpool are not looking to sell rumoured Rossoneri target Dejan Lovren.

Gianluigi Buffon thanked Juventus for giving him the "splendid gift" of being able to play in the same team as Cristiano Ronaldo following the goalkeeper's return to the club.

Buffon left Juve last year and spent a season at Paris Saint-Germain, before turning down the opportunity to remain in Ligue 1.

It soon became clear Buffon's next destination was to be Turin once again, having spent the best 17 years of his career with the Old Lady.

The 41-year-old signed a contract that will expire in 2020 and he is particularly excited about the chance to call Ronaldo his team-mate.

"It's beautiful," he told reporters when asked about playing with the former Real Madrid star.

"At the end of my career I was able to play with Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe thanks to Paris Saint-Germain, now it will happen with Cristiano Ronaldo thanks to Juventus.

"I think that for players with my experience and with my history, to be able to end the career in such a way is a splendid gift."

In his last spell at Juve, Buffon was captain following the departure of Alessandro Del Piero in 2012, while he also donned the number one jersey.

He was offered both of those by respective incumbents Giorgio Chiellini and Wojciech Szczesny, but Buffon gratefully declined, adamant he is not back in Turin to step on anyone's toes.

"I would like to thank Szczesny and Chiellini, who offered me the number one jersey and the captain's armband," he added.

"I am here to contribute as I have always done, not to take anything away from someone. The first-choice goalkeeper of Juve must have the number one and Giorgio, who is my brother, must be captain.

"I took number 77, which is in my history and in the history of Parma. That was the shirt that took me to Juventus and it was something that inspired me."

Gianluigi Buffon is back at Juventus following a year away with Paris Saint-Germain, returning to the club where he established himself as a modern great.

He previously spent 17 years with the Old Lady before his brief spell at PSG, winning a host of titles and enjoying sustained excellence.

Such has been the 41-year-old's longevity, the former Parma prodigy has rubbed shoulders with the very best in world football throughout his time, forming part of World Cup, Ligue 1 and Serie A-winning sides.

With Buffon securing another big move, we have compiled a star-studded group of former team-mates for a dream XI.

GOALKEEPER: GIANLUIGI BUFFON

Who else has the pedigree to don the gloves in such a side?

A five-time member of the UEFA Team of the Year, he boasts more Serie A clean sheets than any other player and, as captain of his country from 2010 until November 2017, would have no trouble bringing this team together.

 

RIGHT-BACK: LILIAN THURAM

Having been joined by Buffon at Parma after his switch from Monaco in 1996, Thuram followed his team-mate in making the move to Turin ahead of the 2001-02 campaign.

The 142-time France international, part of the side that tasted glory at the 1998 World Cup on home soil and won Euro 2000, spent five seasons at Juve before rounding out his career with a spell at Barcelona.

 

CENTRE-BACK: FABIO CANNAVARO

Buffon's inheritance of the Italy armband from Cannavaro in 2010 completed the striking symmetry of their careers.

They both made their Parma debuts in 1995, did the same for Italy in 1997 and were reunited at club level when Cannavaro, one of few defenders to win the Ballon d'Or, joined Juve in 2004. They also lifted the Jules Rimet trophy together in 2006.

 

CENTRE-BACK: ALESSANDRO NESTA

A long-time rival at club level, Nesta was part of the famous Milan defence that beat Juve in the 2002-03 Champions League final – he scored his penalty against Buffon in a 3-2 shoot-out victory – and triumphed again four seasons later.

He was named in the Team of the Tournament at Euro 2000, which Buffon missed through injury, but the 2006 World Cup success will undoubtedly be the highlight of his career.

 

LEFT-BACK: PAOLO MALDINI

With admirable longevity, loyalty and leadership, classy defender Maldini set the path that Buffon has so impressively followed.

The long-time Rossoneri skipper, a seven-time Scudetto winner who also lifted the European Cup on five occasions, is the only player to have managed more Serie A appearances than the veteran Juve goalkeeper – though Buffon will likely surpass Maldini's 647 record next term as he is just seven matches behind.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: ANDREA PIRLO

Has there been a more iconic duo of the modern era?

Pirlo was already at the top by the time he swapped Milan for Juve, but he saved plenty of his play-making brilliance for Buffon and friends as the Bianconeri re-asserted themselves as Italy's top club with a run of successive Scudetti. 

 

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: PAVEL NEDVED

Nedved's blend of athleticism, tenacity and well-rounded technical ability made him close to the complete midfielder.

He helped Czech Republic to the final of Euro 1996 and his value to Juve was summed up by a Ballon d'Or victory in 2003.

 

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: FRANCESCO TOTTI

Buffon said it would have been "ruining a masterpiece" to have kept out some of the goals the talismanic Totti scored against him for Roma.

They were certainly on the same page in the international arena, helping their country conquer the world in 2006.

 

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ROBERTO BAGGIO

Less than two years after a 17-year-old Buffon held Baggio and Milan scoreless, the pair were sharing the same shirt for Italy.

Two of the Azzurri's greatest were in the same squad at the 1998 World Cup, remaining team-mates until Baggio retired in 2004.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO

He stands as an equal to Buffon in the pantheon of Juve luminaries.

Buffon and the artistic Del Piero combined to help the Bianconeri finish top of Serie A on five occasions, while they lined up for Italy together for over a decade and experienced the top prize of winning the World Cup together.

 

STRIKER: KYLIAN MBAPPE

Although David Trezeguet enjoyed 10 prolific seasons at the opposite end of the Juve team to Buffon, Mbappe gets the nod in attack for the remarkable nature of his 2018-19 campaign.

The France international scored an astonishing 33 Ligue 1 goals from 29 appearances and took the lead role after Neymar's injury, becoming the face of the team and a leader despite his tender age of 20. While Trezeguet was a fine player, Mbappe is on the trajectory to becoming an all-time great.

Gianluigi Buffon is extending his remarkable a career for at least another season after completing a stunning return to Juventus on a one-year contract.

Just as he did upon joining Paris Saint-Germain 12 months ago, the Italy legend has shelved thoughts of retirement and will once again intend on challenging for the number one shirt at a dominant domestic force.

It will be the Parma product's 25th season as a professional but, even with his World Cup and nine Serie A titles, the 41-year-old is not alone in at least one respect.

Here are seven  other football legends who, like Buffon, carried on playing into their fifth decade.


RYAN GIGGS

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was an ultimate one-club man, staying at Manchester United for the entirety of his glittering career. Giggs managed to slowly transform himself from a rapid, tricky winger into a cultured central midfielder in the latter years of his playing days, helping to extend his time on the pitch beyond 40. Giggs won an extraordinary haul of medals at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a pair of Champions League crowns. Giggs played in 632 Premier League games, scoring 109 goals, with only Gareth Barry topping his appearance tally. Giggs worked as Louis van Gaal's assistant at United, having taken charge on an interim basis following the sacking of David Moyes, and he will go down in history as both a club and football legend.

PAOLO MALDINI

Paolo Maldini was still going strong for AC Milan beyond his 40th birthday and, like Giggs, he only ever played for one club. Seven league titles and an incredible five European Cup/Champions League wins headline a litany of honours that Maldini helped marshal at San Siro, playing across their near impenetrable back four for almost 25 years. Maldini, son of another Milan legend, Cesare, is one of a select group of players who made over 1,000 appearances in all competitions during their career. To complete the journey, the former Italy man returned to the Rossoneri as technical director in June.

KAZUYOSHI MIURA

Kazuyoshi Miura is the only other man on this list, alongside Buffon, who is still playing. That the Japanese striker made his debut almost 10 years beforehand begins to tell part of his incredible tale. Known as King Kazu, Miura plays for Yokohama FC in Japan's second tier and signed a fresh deal in January to extend his career. The oldest player and goalscorer in the history of global professional football, Miura is regarded as one of the finest Asian players never to have featured at a World Cup, although he made 89 appearances for his country.

 

STANLEY MATTHEWS

Before Miura snatched them off him, Stanley Matthews held the record for both the oldest professional footballer and the oldest goalscorer in the game. Matthews - the Wizard of Dribble - made nearly 700 league appearances for Stoke City and Blackpool in a career that spanned three decades. The 1953 FA Cup final is regarded as the Matthews Final, even though Blackpool's Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick. Matthews won the first-ever European Footballer of the Year award, while he was capped for England 84 times.

DINO ZOFF

Goalkeepers often play deep into their thirties, but not many captain their country to World Cup glory at the age of 40. But that is exactly what Dino Zoff did at the World Cup in 1982. He made 40 appearances in World Cup finals and qualifiers in total, while as a coach he led Italy to the final of Euro 2000. It must be something about Juventus, as Buffon's club is also where Zoff spent the best years of his career, winning six Serie A titles.

RIVALDO

Best known for his spell at Barcelona in club football, Brazil icon Rivaldo was still playing beyond his 40th birthday, albeit only briefly. Rivaldo came out of retirement to sign for Mogi Mirim, the club where his son Rivaldinho was also on the books. Rivaldo picked up two LaLiga titles at Barcelona before continuing his European adventure with AC Milan, winning the 2002–03 Champions League with the Rossoneri. But it is as a Brazil international that Rivaldo is best remembered, having been a key part of the side that won the World Cup in 2002.

 

ROGER MILLA

Roger Milla became the World Cup's oldest scorer when he hit the net for Cameroon in 1994 at the age of 42, having announced himself at the same tournament four years previously with his famous corner-flag dance. Milla's four goals at the 1990 World Cup helped Cameroon to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament and he is fondly regarded as one of Africa's greatest ever players. Remarkably, Milla regained the African Footballer of the Year title 14 years after he first won the award.

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